We're empowering students and schools to make their learning environments more sustainable.
School Infrastructure NSW's Sustainable Schools Grants invite all NSW public schools and preschools to apply for funding up to $15,000 to deliver practical sustainability-focused projects that link to the NSW curriculum.
The grants are part of a four year, $10 million dollar program that gives schools the opportunity to develop and implement innovative hands-on projects that help students learn about environmentally sustainable practices and take real steps to enhance the sustainability of their school environment.
To apply, schools must summarise their proposal in an online form and attach a Project Plan which sets out a budget, performance measurement and risk management processes. They also need the approval of their Principal or Director before applying.
Grant funding this year is merit-based and applications will be evaluated against the following criteria that the project demonstrates:
Improve sustainability outcomes in the local school/preschool environment including student involvement
Link to the NSW Curriculum
Provide opportunities for hands-on student activities to learn about sustainability
Building knowledge and collaborative partnerships around sustainability at the school and with a wide range of stakeholders such as Environmental Education Centres, P&C committees, community members, Councils, Local Land Councils and other organisations.
Originality or innovation
Adequate project planning of risks, timelines, performance measurement and reporting, ongoing management of program and links to existing school plans
With less than 30 students, Delungra Public School had previously championed an initiative to protect koalas devastated by bushfires and drought. Students cared for the koalas' trees and set up water stations, and the school became a release point for koalas in the area.
After receiving a Sustainable School Grant, the school have been able to further their Koala Rescue program. Students and teachers have been helping the environment to recover propagate and grow koala-friendly seedlings to distribute to the community.
Despite the impacts of Covid-19 throughout the year, Koala Rescue continues to progress. A small greenhouse has been built, shelving has been set up and seedlings have been planted. These seedlings will be distributed throughout the community for residents to plant around their properties in an attempt to regenerate habitat and food for wildlife.
The project has enabled the school to empower student’s knowledge of sustainability strategies and teachers have used it as an opportunity to transform the school's curriculum. Most excitingly, ABC Landline has been working with the school to document their heart-warming story. Watch the feature: ‘Koala Trees: School children helping save koalas’.
Sensory Garden – Krambach Public School
“Our students and staff really stepped up and as a team working hard, we are so proud of our garden.” – Renae Durbin, Sensory Garden Coordinator, Krambach Public School
Covid-19 wasn’t going to stop Krambach Public School from bringing their sensory garden to life and improving the school’s sustainability. The now completed sensory garden is used as calm area for students during playtime and also an outdoor learning area where teachers can ignite student’s imaginations, engage them in learning activities and foster creativity.
With the cost of materials covered by the Sustainable Schools Grants, students and staff helped design and build three new garden beds including a bush tucker garden, butterfly garden and native bee sanctuary. Contemporary aboriginal artist, Lara Went from Yukal art worked with the school to create a rainbow serpent path and PVC pipe ball run. The students loved learning about Aboriginal culture and were proud to leave their own special mark on the garden. An oasis in the heart of the school grounds, the garden is also dotted with cheery ornaments, and a living green wall. An exciting place for kids and adults to connect with nature!
Bee Plus - Bonnet Bay Public School
Bonnet Bay Public School has developed a whole school project called Bee Plus which is based around increasing the numbers of native bees in the school and local area. Thanks to the Sustainable Schools Grants, the school was able to purchase two bee hives, safety equipment, tools, plants, signage, mulch, thermometers and pay for expert advice on establishing their bee hives.
During science lessons students worked to: build bee friendly gardens, design and build native bee ‘hotels,’ and create educational resources about local native bees.
As promised, the students have created their own educational resources about the life cycles, behaviours and needs of native bees as well as their importance as pollinators in our local and global ecology. Check out this video of students talking about the unique books that they authored and illustrated about the Bee Plus program.